FONDA - A night after scoring his 48th career University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions victory, defending series champion Tim Shaffer was showing no signs of backing off.
The "Steel City Outlaw" led the field of 410 winged sprint cars 30 laps green-to-checkers Thursday night to record his fourth win of the season and second straight victory at Fonda Speedway.
"Definitely, you have to be lucky, it all comes into play," Shaffer said in Victory Lane. "You have to have luck but you have to have a great car here. If you don't have a great car here, I don't care where you start; you end up in the back in a hurry. It is a tough track. When it gets slick, you have to be patient but aggressive. It worked out for us again tonight."
The top three finishers from the UNOH All-Star Sprint Series feature pose in Victory Lane at Fonda Speedway on Thursday. From left are Tony Stewart (third), Tim Shaffer (first) and David Gravel (second). (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
In the companion 40-lap, $4,000-to-win modified feature, Jimmy Davis broke through for his first win of the season over Stewart Friesen and Bobby Varin.
Making their third appearance at the Track of Champions, the UNOH sprinters were joined by defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart in his Office Depot/Mobil 1 sponsored No. 14 sprint car.
Stewart started ninth on the grid as Shaffer and Greg Hodnett brought the field to the green.
In front of a near-capacity crowd, Shaffer was challenged early by local sprint car contender Jessica Zemken before the field went under the yellow for Cap Henry's spin off turn four.
Shaffer got a big jump on Zemken on the restart and with a clear track in front of him pulled away, leaving her to battle with Hodnett and David Gravel for the runner-up spot.
Shaffer was brought back to the pack on lap nine when Mark Coldren spun on the front stretch.
When the race restarted, the race behind Shaffer tightened up between Zemken, Gravel, Hodnett and Stewart.
Gravel found his way around Zemken for second on lap 17, and Stewart followed suit a lap later.
Gravel and Stewart got a break with seven laps remaining as Coldren spun for the second time in the race.
However, Shaffer was not to be denied with his Aaron Call/Janet Holbrook Motorsports No. 83, as he handled the restart, pulled away, and claimed his 49th career UNOH Sprint Car victory.
Gravel was second followed by Stewart, Daryn Pittman and Zemken. Hodnett, Logan Schuchart, Michael Parent, Danny Smith and Bobby Varin.
After winning his heat race, Davis's daughter convinced him to let her redraw for his starting spot in the 40-lap modified main.
It was a good decision as she pulled the pole for her father alongside Alton Palmer.
Davis made the most of the opportunity, outdragging Palmer into turn one to take the early lead. Bobby Varin followed Davis through the turn to take second over Palmer.
Last Saturday's feature winner A.J. Romano took over the third spot on lap four, well behind the two-car breakaway by Davis and Varin.
At the midway point, Davis was using lapped traffic to open a 10-car advantage over Varin, while Stewart Friesen was challenging Romano for third and Danny Varin was riding in fifth.
Friesen made a late-race run, chasing down Varin to take over second with five laps remaining.
Time was on Davis' side as he hit the checkers in the caution-free event nearly two-seconds ahead of Friesen. Varin was third with Romano fourth and Matt Sheppard fifth.
Danny Varin, Elmo Reckner, Pat Ward, Ronnie Johnson and Craig Hanson rounded out the top 10.
"Track position was important tonight," Davis said. "The track was pretty polished up from the sprint cars. I am not quite sure if we could have come from the back tonight like we have throughout the year. I had to believe they were coming. I don't know if the right rear [tire] was giving up on me a little bit there or if it was the track and I just needed to change my line but we were able to hold him [Friesen] off finally. We finished second to him enough this year."
Racing returns to Fonda Speedway Saturday night with a regular race program on tap along with the Northeast Midstate Vintage Stock Cars making an appearance.